WASHINGTON, April 23 (KUNA) -- The US Forces-Iraq spokesman Major General
Stephen Lanza affirmed Friday that the majority of countrys Al Qaeda
insurgents are Iraqis, and the US still holds between 4,000-5,000 detainees.
"We do not see as many and very few foreign fighters compared to what we
have seen a few years ago," General Lanza noted in a teleconference from
Baghdad. He acknowledged the Iraqi forces, with support from the US, were able
to heavily hurt Al Qaeda inside Iraq, "to the point where Al Qaeda has
fractured," he affirmed, and added "the group right now has fractured into
those three groups."
General Lanza pointed to Iraqi people rejection of Al Qaeda, yet he named
three groups which still support Al Qaeda.
"The first group that supports Al Qaeda is the opportunists, those
individuals that would look to Al Qaeda for monetary support or to facilitate
some kind of economic event for them," he explained and added, "the second
group would be nationalists, those individuals that do not support the
government and would like to see a regime change." And he referred to the
third group as "the ideologues," who believe in Al Qaedas goals.
Responding to news of todays earlier bombs in Iraq in which a series of
car bombs detonated outside Shiite mosques in Baghdad morning, killing at
least 64 people, General Lanza pointed out to Al Qaedas goal of inflaming
sectarian tension in Iraq and said "first of all, is more than just the task
of the attack; it is the purpose. And what we have seen with these attacks is
the purpose to foment sectarian violence with the population."
When asked about how many people are currently under Al Qaedas command,
both active and passive, General Lanza said "I cannot give you a number on
active and passive. I can tell you roughly we anticipate somewhere between 1,
500 and 2,000."
"Right now we have roughly about 4,000 to 5,000 that are left," General
Lanza said of the number of Iraqis and non Iraqis still detained under
American command. He pointed out the American-Iraqi security agreement that
arrange for transferring those detainees to the Iraqi security forces and
government, and the release of those are predicated on the rule of law, based
on the Iraqi government. (end)
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